Blues rule St. Albert battle
Paul Kane scored 11 touchdowns to whip the St. Albert High Skyhawks by 64 points in metro Edmonton high school football
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 14, 2013 06:00 am
Slaughtering the St. Albert High Skyhawks by 64 points was a statement game for the Paul Kane Blues.
“We’re sending a message that we can play football. We’re good and we’re planning for the playoffs. That's our goal; we want to win,” declared Grade 12 slotback/cornerback Frankie White after the 78-14 epic blowout on the sundrenched Riel turf field Thursday.
The Miles conference contenders in metro Edmonton football burned the Skyhawks for 11 touchdowns in the most important victory in the three-year history of Paul Kane football.
“It’s the Battle of St. Albert and we took it seriously,” White said of the No. 9 provincial-ranked Tier II Blues. “We worked hard on defence and offence today and it showed by the score.”
Previous results between the two high schools were Skyhawks’ wins of 14-10 last year and 15-0 in the inaugural 2011 confrontation.
During the post-game celebration, the Blues walked hand in hand across the field to the hash marks and bowed in unison to their fans in the stands as the sad-looking Skyhawks waited to shake hands.
Afterwards, as the Skyhawks knelt at midfield for their team pray, the Blues huddled up under the goal posts for a picture to commemorate the historic achievement.
“I wouldn’t trade this for the world. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Graham Loerke, a Grade 12 workhorse at inside linebacker and centre. “It’s really nice after a two-year losing streak to them to finally get a win.”
The Blues could have easily surpassed 100 points against the beleaguered Skyhawks – offensive co-ordinator Randy Guy said the team’s total offence was a whopping 700 yards – but they elected to sit out all-star quarterback Cory Knott in the second half. The player of the game motored for TDs of 13, 25 and four yards, with the last major coming with 3.6 seconds left in the penalty-filled first half.
Knott also fired a 20-yard TD strike in the first quarter to speedster Theo Block for the first of his three scores, and a 75-yard bomb to the elusive White in the second quarter.
Knott hooked up with Tyler Turner, White and Block on two-point conversions.
Knott also tacked up a point from a kick off the Skyhawks flubbed fielding to make it 29-7 with 7:18 left in the half.
“They had a tough time containing Cory and I was really surprised. St. Albert High is one school that's always done a real good job on him and we were worried about that because I know they have good athletes at linebacker and I was actually a little surprised they ran the defence they did against us. We were totally expecting something else and when they didn't do it, it was like, OK we can do these other things,” said head coach Rob Strecker. “Guys were making plays today and that’s the bottom line.”
The Blues swarmed the startled Skyhawks in the first half for an overwhelming 49-7 lead despite catch and runs by Block for TDs of 57 yards in the first quarter and 49 yards in the second quarter that were called back because of penalties.
Shayden Phillip of the Blues also fumbled the ball away while trying to gain extra yards down the sideline following a first-down reception and Matt Demers of the Skyhawks recovered it at their 47 to end the first quarter.
“I knew if we do what we can do, that we were going to put points up on the board. We still had lots of little mistakes, which was frustrating in the first half, but when I looked at the scoreboard and we’ve got 49 points, I went, ‘Holy mackerel! We’re getting things done yet we’re still playing sloppy,’” Strecker said.
After three quarters the Blues showed no signs of slowing down up 71-14.
To suggest Skyhawks’ head coach Sam Johnson was shocked by the result is an understatement.
“I’m very surprised. It’s a simple case of not being prepared to play. We’re better than that,” said Johnson of the No. 2 provincially-ranked Tier III Skyhawks (1-1). “We all knew Paul Kane has an explosive offence but the boys simply weren't ready to play and by the time we got ourselves gathered together they had poured it on. That was a fantastic job by Paul Kane.”
When asked if the Blues ran up the score, Johnson replied: “In the big scheme of things it doesn't matter. They were one hundred per cent worthy of the victory. I give them that.”
The Blues needed only three plays on their opening possession to drive the ball 83 yards, as Kieran Porter scored the first of his two rushing TDs. A 42-yard bootleg by Knott put the ball at the one for Porter to finish.
With under three minutes left in the first quarter the Skyhawks turned the ball over on downs at their 35, which led to Block’s first TD catch.
On the first play of the second quarter Skyhawks’ quarterback Keith Zyla connected with John Pysyk for a 32-yard gain and White made the TD-saving tackle at the Paul Kane 31. Two plays later, Zyla hit Pysyk in the endzone.
A lengthy punt return by Turner to the Skyhawks’ 33 put the wheels in motion for Knott’s 25-yard bootleg to push the lead to 26-7.
Porter’s second TD was from four yards out with 32.2 seconds remaining until the break. A third-down reception by Turner for 12 yards set up the score.
On first down after the ensuing kickoff, Brian Mehok of the Blues fell on a fumble at the Skyhawks’ 38. On first down, Block reeled in Knott’s pass at the four and the Blues’ quarterback scored on the next play.
“We’re a team built around speed so the faster we can play and the faster we can execute the better we’ll be in the end,” said Loerke, 17.
In the third quarter Grade 10 backup quarterback Brendan Guy located Block for a 30-yard catch and run score. Turner ran in the two-point conversion as the holder on the convert attempt.
A fumble recovery by Philip led to Block’s third TD, a 61-yard catch and run. Knott kicked the conversion.
The Skyhawks responded with Zyla’s 69-yard TD pass.
Before quarter time Turner caught a short throw from Guy and sprinted 60 yards down the sideline to pay dirt. Knott converted the score.
Greg Fleming’s one-yard TD plunge and Knott’s conversion rounded out the scoring.
“We never stopped. We just kept on going,” said White, 18. “I was quite surprised by the margin we had on them. It was pretty good.”
Loerke noted everything fell into place for the Blues’ second victory to kick off the season, which is the longest winning streak in team history.
“We came together as a team and through execution we were able to do that,” he said.